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Handling of incorrect MIME types

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SuperJeff
 
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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 2:27 pm

Alright, I know the story about how Firebird is complying with standards and IE is not. But lets face it, when a user click on a link to a zip file or an exe and it loads up in their browser as a text file with gibberish, no one thinks "my, isnt it nice that Firebird handles this according to the standards."

Now I know the dev team refuses to change this, but here is what I am pleading for: could you add an option of some sort as a work around. For example, maybe an about:config setting to handle text MIME types with their file extension? Or maybe a right click menu option to "open with associated program"?

Or at the very least is it possible for an extension to be written which could resolve this issue. I understand it is the fault of the various websites for not configuring their server right and I am glad Mozilla is not breaking the standard, but I get this problem ALL the time and their ought to be some go way to work around it.

Thanks.

Dunderklumpen
 
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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 2:37 pm


SuperJeff
 
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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 2:46 pm

Sorry, I didnt notice you post, but I am glad to see I'm not the only one thinking this way. :)

But I totally agree, it is a real turn off for new users, especially since most new people would assume it is a problem with the browser since it doesnt happen in IE.

Dunderklumpen
 
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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 2:52 pm

SuperJeff wrote:Sorry, I didnt notice you post, but I am glad to see I'm not the only one thinking this way. :)

But I totally agree, it is a real turn off for new users, especially since most new people would assume it is a problem with the browser since it doesnt happen in IE.


In my own experience it is. I have tried to convince some companies to make the switch. They have all switched back after a week or so. They don´t care wich browser is standard compliant and wich is not. They care how well it renders the pages they visit and how well it handles their downloads etc. etc.

It all boils down to funtionality... I think.

Paradox52525

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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 3:28 pm

Just more in the age-old argument between standards compliancy and error-handling. On the one side you have the w3c zealots who believe that a browser should do no more than support standards, and if anything goes wrong it's the webmaster's fault and he and his heathen brethren should be smitten by their divine might. On the other side you've got the functionality advocates who believe a browser should be able to recover from any and all errors, if a link isn't there, make it up! website built incorrectly, fix it! and do all this without "bloating" the browser! As for me personally I'm on the fence. I support web standards and evangelism for the most part, but anything that significantly interferes with a brower's functionality should be addressed by the browser itself. Fortunately most of these nitpicky issues are cleaned up by extension authors or corrected by the Mozilla devs themself, but no one seems to have come up with a good, user-friendly mimetype handling extension yet. Force Content Type is very nice, but it requires JSLib (which can be confusing to install as extensions go), cannot be installed to the profile, and is very difficult to use if you want to write global mimetype overrides (you get syntax like: ".*\.jpg$"). Also ForceCT has been causing some pretty severe crashing on my system when installed along with the latest version of TBE. There have been a lot of ideas tossed around for a simpler mimetype handling extension, but unfortunately none of them made it off the ground. I would also very much like to see something like this written if anyone is willing.

Also writing a mimetype correcting extension is going to be difficult while bug 210208 is still at large, so everyone go vote for it ^_^.
http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=210208

Thumper

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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 7:58 pm

SuperJeff wrote:But I totally agree, it is a real turn off for new users, especially since most new people would assume it is a problem with the browser since it doesnt happen in IE.


Excellent. I have my third MZ forum pet hate:

Searched the web for "right click to download". Results 1 - 10 of about 28,300. Search took 0.27 seconds

Pet Hate #3: The Idea That People Don't Just Automatically Hit Back And Then Right-Click The Link Instead Like They've Done On Every Browser For The Last Eight Years.

I have yet to hear from one single solitary person that they switched back to IE because of this. One.

- Chris

Paradox52525

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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 8:18 pm

Just because it isn't actively driving people away from the browser doesn't mean that steps shouldn't be taken to fix this behavior. Right-click save works on most links, but there are also many links it won't work on (javascript popups, redirects, sites that disable context menus, certain php links, ect ect). I personally hate it when I have to go into page source just to find a download link, and most users probably wouldn't even know how to do that. Firebird is supposed to be the more user-friendly mozilla geared towards newbies and IE converts...I could easily see an issue like this driving away potential users. Also for the record I never suggested this be integrated into the Mozilla core, I suggested it as an extension, in otherwords OPTIONAL. Just because it's not something you'd use doesn't mean you have to oppose it so vehemently.

Thumper

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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 9:32 pm

Steps are being taken, they just aren't being publicly aired. It isn't something which is in need of a quick fix. I didn't say I was vehemently opposed to it (although personally I feel that frankly if it isn't being served with the right mime then I have next to no reassurance it is what the extension says it is), I just said that it's being brought up as an Apocalyptic showstopper for the entire browser (not strongly in this particular case, but definitely so in the past) enough that it's in my bad books.

This isn't your grandfather's Internet. While it's admirable than anyone with MS Notepad can put up some content and have it viewed fairly sensibly by all modern browsers, this doesn't mean that web browsers should be eternally chained to putting up with such easily-fixed issues as server MIME type settings. Sending things with the right MIME type is just as important as using non-MS-specific markup if you want everyone to view your content correctly.

- Chris

edbgon
 
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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 10:08 pm

Yes, right clicking to download is easy... But then what about FORM based downloads? Someone has a PHP script return headers with a RAR file and you're screwed! I have to open IE (which I hate doing) just to download some stupid file.

Paradox52525

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Post Posted July 21st, 2003, 11:07 pm

I agree with everything you've said, but I would still contest that a fix should be made available. Misconfigured mimetypes on servers have been around for quite some time, and they quite simply aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Aside from the general apathy many administrators seem to have for problems like this, many webmaster (depending on their hosting setup) don't have any CONTROL over what mimetypes their files are served using. I've e-mailed several webmasters about incorrect mimetypes only hear that they can't fix it because it's their provider that controls serverside mimetypes. I would also contest that incorrect mimetypes are a bit more serious than things like non-compliant code and MS specific markup because generally those things don't severly impair browser functionality. Certainly they can, but usually they will only cause rendering errors that are annoying, but do not completely break the site. Incorrect mimetypes can in some cases render it completely impossible to download a file without using IE or digging through the website's source for half an hour.

I'm all for standards, I certainly look forward to the day when Microsoft gets taken over by militant remnants of the ex-Soviet Union and their FUBAR web nonstandards are cast aside...but until then I don't see why an extension to correct these issues is such an unreasonable thing to ask for. I don't think mimetypes is an apocalyptic browser-killing bug like you said (even if it was, the apocalypse itself wouldn't get me to stop using Firebird) but it can be a HUGE inconvenience that can be worked around relatively easily (I think it was cdn who said in another post that someone who knew what they are doing could take the ForceCT source and write up an extension like this in a matter of an hour or two). But anyway, I'm not trying to start a long drawn out argument here, and I'm already WAY over my word production quota for today...I need to stop writing essays in the mozillazine forums and starting writing them for school.....grrrr....

Dunderklumpen
 
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Post Posted July 22nd, 2003, 4:37 am

The simple question is this:

Is this "problem" driving people away from Firebird?
If it is I think there is a problem since the main goal for the whole project would be to create a browser that would kick "you-know-who´s" behind.

Right click will not do it on many servers - eventhough it is a solution in some cases.
Forecedcontent is, in my opinion also not a good solution, because it´s a bit to complicated to install and get working.

So, would the solution be to try to create an extension that does what other browser do - check the extension of the file and handle it they way it is intended to be handled (or configured)?
I don´t know if that is even possible but would´nt it be better to discuss on how this can be solved instead of just sticking the head in the sand and claim "not our problem"?

They way I see it this is driving people away from Firebird and I have seen it happen more than once. So this is actually
a problem for Firebird - at least if the goal is to get more people to use the browser.
And no - I don´t suggest that it should be in the core - just an extension, just a simple solution.

Basically, is Firebird a good browser for anyone to use or is it a browser just for the technically skilled and with a good knowledge about standards, the internet etc. etc?

My two cents on the subject...

alanjstr
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Post Posted July 22nd, 2003, 1:55 pm

I do think that some common things, when served up as text/plain, should have their MIMEtype overridden. Heck, we could probably use the list from the latest Apache.

I would love something that would read in a MIMEtype.config file and establish a ForceContentType for them.
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SuperJeff
 
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Post Posted July 22nd, 2003, 4:01 pm

Excellent. I have my third MZ forum pet hate:

Searched the web for "right click to download". Results 1 - 10 of about 28,300. Search took 0.27 seconds

Pet Hate #3: The Idea That People Don't Just Automatically Hit Back And Then Right-Click The Link Instead Like They've Done On Every Browser For The Last Eight Years.

I have yet to hear from one single solitary person that they switched back to IE because of this. One.

- Chris[/quote]

Right-click and Save Link As isn't the same as clicking a link and having it open with the associated program. It is a pain to save a file to your hard drive so you can open it up and then delete it later. Also, lately more and more sites uses redirects or form downloads which make this not an option.

SuperMichael

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Post Posted July 22nd, 2003, 9:58 pm

They could implement a toggleable feature that both looks at the extention + gets the first few kb of a file to sniff the header, and then base the file extention on the extention and the header of the file.

Imho Forcedcontent is way to complicated for the nomal user that knows nothing about the web and mime stuff. Basically i've never been good at math/synthax kind of stuff like that and it seems like quite a hassle to get it to work. That's why i don't have the extention installed.

I din't know about the mime type either before i started using Phoenix and had some download problems and noticed the bug reports on the forums.

A very good example is, trying to download winamp skins on www.winamp.com and the problems you get when trying to open a picture attachement in the Winamp forums. The same attachment problem also happens at a few other forums as far as i know.

If those newcomers have to revert back to IE to do such things like i've mentioned there's a big chance they won't come back because in their eyes Mozilla Firebird is broken. They'll either don't understand it, won't understand it, or just don't want to put a lot of effort into it.

jrobbio

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Post Posted July 22nd, 2003, 10:11 pm

SuperJeff wrote:Right-click and Save Link As isn't the same as clicking a link and having it open with the associated program. It is a pain to save a file to your hard drive so you can open it up and then delete it later. Also, lately more and more sites uses redirects or form downloads which make this not an option.


You are so right! Not only is it a complete pain to do the right click -> save as routine every time, but I can quite happily deal with that on the fast connection that I have. Some people love the habit of watching the file stream and Mozilla does it so well for mpg and mpeg files, but just completely loses it for others. People with low bandwidth are going to be doing a lot of hanging around.

Also, more and more webmasters are becoming savvy enough to protect their content from hotlinking by creating redirects and to reiterate what superJeff said "your stuck!"

How about if Firebird detects the incorrect markup, it doesn't fix it or anything, it just boots it out of the browser into the default file associated software and let them handle it. I can't see what's wrong with that kind of approach.

Rob
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